Pasadena Strong Times

December 27, 2015

By: Diego Ynzunza

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Survivor of San Fernando earthquake, Sam Ynzunza, is living strong after being traumatized just 46 years ago by the effects of the big quake.

Pasadena Strong Times

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Quake Talk

Survivor of quake opens up with the PST about a traumatizing moment in his life and how you can be prepared for a big earthquake

By: Diego Ynzunza

It was a normal Tuesday morning in 1971. A young boy named Sam Ynzunza was looking to have a normal boring day at school. What woke him up that morning would change his life forever. “I was asleep at home in my bed. In the morning at around six AM, I was woken by my room shaking.” The shaking was just a little bit of what was to come from that big earthquake. The San Fernando Earthquake happened on February 9, 1971 at 6 am. It was a 6.6 magnitude quake. It caused $553 million in damage. There were 64 lives lost.

Young Sam did not know what was happening. His bed moved from one side of the room to the other. The house shook from side to side. He said “ It was like a freight train. The house was moving that violently.” He tried to stand up but couldn't because of the shaking. So he just stayed in bed while the shaking was still happening. After the shaking died down, Sam went into the hallway with his sisters. There were many severe aftershocks to follow and he and his sisters tried to protect themselves.

Sam and his sisters were not hurt, but there were a few small porcelain figures that fell and broke. The worst part about it was that they all had to go to school still. When he got to school, there were many things broken. There was glass all over the place. Eventually everybody was picked up by their parents early because it wasn't safe for the children.

“It was exciting but also very scary to have experienced that, he said.”

During the quake, Sam realized what he could have done to protect himself, but couldn't because of the shaking. He recommends that anybody in an earthquake not panic. He says to move away from anything that can hurt you (tall bookcases, etc.). In addition, he recommends going under a table or under a doorway to protect yourself. Also, he says it's a good idea to put protective straps on anything big and tall that can fall on you.

Sam will obviously never forget what he experienced. What he went through is life changing for anybody. He is still living happily today with his 11 year old son Diego.